Thursday, November 29, 2007

Am I paranoid, or is everyone else ignorant...

So, as I've looked at Christmas decorations around the neighborhood, I've noticed a lot of people leave their blinds and curtains open, allowing the world to see into their living rooms.

I'm actually kind of frightened to open our blinds and leave them open. I mean, I don't want the world watching me watch TV, or my wife, for that matter. And it's not like we have really expensive stuff, but I don't need the world knowing what I have in my house.

So, am I incredibly paranoid, given my upbringing in a much rougher neighborhood than this one is, or are my neighborhood compadres just ignorant or oblivious to the fact that any day, anyone could walk down their street and see what they have and decide that they wanted it and were willing to do something about it?

I mean, hell, again, I don't have much that anyone would want, but I still keep my blinds shut mostly tight, particularly in the evening and at night. I'm only opening the ones directly in front of our Christmas tree for people to see, and that's enough for me.

Oh, and the Christmas decorations are beautiful. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blood is thicker than water...and paint...

Well, with some serious help from my brother and his wife (Gina's cousin), we made REAL progress on priming and painting the baby's room on Sunday. Starting at noon, I started priming (first coat, getting the channels) the two remaining untouched walls (behind the photographer below). My bro started putting the second coat of primer on the wall outside the alcove and the west wall (with the four windows). Meanwhile, my sister-in-law grabbed the paint (Benjamin Moore, Key Lime) and started painting the alcove. After we stopped at 3pm to watch the Bears game, she kept going--thus dubbed by her husband as "The Paint Nazi"--I kept telling her she'd done enough, and my bro said not to try to take the paint brush away or she'd bite my hand off.

Anyway, the results, thus far, are below. The walls obviously still need a second coat, but here they are. They're a little more yellow and brighter than the flash on the camera shows. They are literally Kermit Green. Gina's not thrilled, but she picked the color, so too bad for her. :) Actually, I think it looks OK. It's a kid's room, so it should be colorful and's not our master bedroom or the living room. So I think it'll work. Hell, if it doesn't, too bad. I'm done painting this crap once I finish the other walls! :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wintertime is here...

Thanksgiving 2
Originally uploaded by southsideandy
This is a couple days old, but here's what we woke up to Thanksgiving's pretty, in a gardening kind of way. There's another nice shot on Flickr, part of the In the Yard set. Check it out!

More pictures, by the way, coming up soon!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Nice when you know what you're doing...

...of course, that doesn't mean I didn't have to make TWO trips to Home Depot. But that's better than four. :) Reference this post from my personal blog, from when I remodeled the half-bath of our condo myself...thankfully, I did, as it says, 90 percent of the work, so I had "practice."

Thus, when I decided that I'd had enough of these pressure-assisted toilets--specifically the one upstairs--I was only partly worried that all hell would break loose. That was based on only the "curse" of projects and how they go haywire in this family. :) I knew that I knew how to replace a toilet, and that I could do it pretty easily.

As such, ladies and gentlemen, our new toilet upstairs:
It's a Pegasus Westminster(?), I believe, from Home Depot. It's not a pressure-assist toilet, which means that, although it takes a little while to fill the tank because of the low water pressure to the second floor, it will actually still fill, whereas the pressure-assist tank would not. Think of how you blow up a balloon--you're the water supply line and the balloon is the pressure-assist tank. You have to exert more pressure to get air into the balloon than the balloon is exerting to get air out of it. This is what was happening with my toilet up there--too much pressure in the tank was overpowering the weak supply flow.

Now, I still have to fix the low water pressure in the house, but at least this will buy us more time to figure this whole thing out--maybe even a LOT more time. We'll see. At any rate, it took me longer to go to Home Depot, pick and buy the toilet and come home than it did to actually take the old toilet out and put the new one in. So I'm feeling good about that. :)

Finally, of course, Happy belated Thanksgiving...we hosted both families yesterday, as we're now the ones with the most room. And it was great. Hope yours was a good one as well!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Inching along...albeit foot by foot...

More progress made today...but only priming. Looks like it'll take another day or two of priming, then about three or four days of painting (going by the rate of progress that priming is taking, that is) before I'm done. The good news is, the other two sides of the room are partial walls on both sides, so they might go a little quicker. Here's some pics of the progress...
Gotta travel most of the day tomorrow, and then birth class in the evening, if I make it back in time. Maybe, just maybe (though slim), I'll get more priming out of the way. We shall see, I suppose.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A little more progress, a little more pressure...

Boy, this is going to be slow-going. I primed more of the future baby's room today, and didn't get too terribly far. Like I said, I made some progress, but not a ton. Furthermore, the added pressure came from the fact that Babies 'R' Us called to tell me that the baby's furniture is in, ready for us to pick it up.

Thankfully, they'll hold it for 30 days. If I can make more really good progress tomorrow and maybe even more during the week, maybe, just maybe, this room will be ready for the furniture next weekend, after Thanksgiving insanity and all. But we'll see...with a shorter-than-normal week for doing stuff like this, I don't know how much I'll actually get done. But I feel a tad bit better about it, knowing I got something done today. Plus, we got a lot of cleaning out of the way today, since we had some friends over. That will help in prep for hosting the families for Thanksgiving. So that'll be good.

More priming and, if I'm lucky, painting, tomorrow!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Big day ahead...and busy weekend too...

OK, well, since the baby's new furniture is supposed to arrive at Babies 'R' Us any day now, I have to get moving. That means tomorrow, I start painting again. Actually, still priming first. Got a lot of that to do yet. But, at least it's a big room. If I prime first, it should be dry by the time I'm ready to start painting. I hope. Here's all that was done the last time I primed. This is two coats of primer (I tend to spread paint/primer really thin...part of my cheap upbringing--gotta use every bit of paint off the brush/roller, buddy!).
See what I mean? Lots to do. But, it's not like I have to finish it all tomorrow. But my goal (realistic or not) is to get all priming done tomorrow, for the whole room (just the wood paneling, though). And if I can get some paint on the walls too, even better. For reference, here are some shots of the rest of the room "before"'s really, really big. The baby is going to feel like he/she is sleeping in a cavern.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Know a good plumber?

Well, I need to collect a list of plumbers who can come out and replace our supply pipe from the city to increase our water pressure overall. Anybody from the Northwest Side of Chicago out there who can recommend a good one? I'm not looking for cheapest--I'm looking for honest, licensed and high-quality worksmanship. In terms of honesty, I want someone who's going to do as minimal work as needed to improve our water pressure (in other words, if we don't need a booster pump, I don't WANT a booster pump--my pipefitter friend says I probably don't need a booster pump, and I tend to trust him--but he's no plumber, as he reminds me).

Please let me know if you do. You can post it in the comments box--heck, that'll give them some deserved publicity for anyone else reading this blog.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Where has HE been???

Good thing I had two posts for the price of one last time, since I've been so bad about posting lately. In a sense, it's a good thing, in that I've been busy. In another sense, it's a bad thing in that I've been busy with stuff NOT directly involved with the bungalow. Some of the things I've been up to include:

1. Registering for the new baby. We're expecting the baby's entire room of furniture in the next week or two. That's great. And terrible at the same time. But we got through most of the registering, so that's good.

2. Debating stepping up in the furniture world, in a sense. We needed a rocker and ottoman for the baby's room, for feeding and rocking to sleep. Gina's grandma was going to contribute some money to that, and she still is going to do so, posthumously. And until we went to the Bungalow Expo and saw Plain and Simple Furniture there, we probably would have bought them at Babies R Us or a department/big box furniture store type of place with whatever she gave us. But, after visiting the booth, we decided, for once, to splurge some of our own money too and buy something that (a) will last FOREVER (the baby will be rocked to sleep on it, and then probably will inherit it when WE die) and (b) will serve a second purpose once we don't need it in the baby's room any longer. That is, if we bought a plain ol' cheapy plush rocker/glider, it would have ended up in the family room downstairs, buried. This piece will be a centerpiece in our mission-style, bungalow living room for decades. At least that's the plan. These pictures are close to what we're getting...we're getting a glider though, not a rocker--but pretty much identical otherwise:

3. Getting the cars shuttled all over to get minor tune-ups and fixes.

4. Figuring out, last night on a whim, how to fix both toilets. The stupid handle kept sticking in the open position on the first-floor toilet, rattling every other time you flushed it, noisily and annoyingly. The upstairs toilet has been inoperable due to the assumption that either it was broken or the water pressure wasn't good enough to stop it from running constantly. Well, I figured out there's one adjustment knob on the pressurized tanks that I putzed around with and got both problems least permanently downstairs and temporarily upstairs. We'll see how it goes.

5. I've also been really, really busy working on my latest pet project, which is a small business that me and a colleague are starting up. I've had to design a ton of stuff in advance of our "launch," as it were, but what I've designed has met with good response so far. We'll see how it goes, as there are many, many questions about biz startups that need to be addressed. And, yes, it does have a connection with this blog, believe it or not. I'll be SURE to sell all of you on the idea--I'm betting you'll love it. ;) But we're a little bit of a ways away from that.

So what's next on the docket? Cleaning and painting, in neither particular order. Since the baby furniture's ordered and "on its way," that means dilly-dallying on getting the upstairs primed and painted is no longer an option. Not that I was avoiding it before, but I was just so busy with other stuff that it languished. It happens, as I'm sure you all know and can attest to. But the entire first floor needs to be sorted through, cleaned and organized. We're hosting Thanksgiving, and that means we need room and organization around here! :)

So, my apologies in advance if there's a little more silence around here. I hate to do it, and I'll do my best to avoid it, but just be prepared! Don't forget about me! :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Two posts, for the price of one...

Wow, what could make me post again so quickly? Well, I tried bleeding the radiators tonight...then went to check on the furnace and all that down in the utility room. At this point, for whatever reason unnoticed before, I looked up the side of the chimney, on the back side of it, and noticed a potentially GREAT FIND, albeit for the future more than anything:

Watch the vertigo here...both of these pics are looking straight up. Now, the first is more promising, in a sense...and more puzzling. As you can see, there's about a 4-inch gap between what appears to be the old bathroom wall (you can plainly see the linoleum or whatever tile pattern on the left) and the new bathroom (shower) wall (studs on the right side). Now, there isn't much the can be done with that, per se, except to give us a few more inches whenever we decide we might renovate the bathroom...again, not a huge deal, probably...just puzzling, more than anything.

In the second photo, however, there's about a good 10 inches or so between the chimney (on the right) and the bedroom wall. The top or bottom wall (in this photo, for perspective) is the wall to the hallway just outside the would be AWESOME to have a small built-in of some sort put in there...maybe there was one originally, for all I know. Now, I can't see up the other two sides of the chimney, so I don't know how much space, if any, is there. But this is definitely an interesting possibility that I'm truly excited about. Albeit, again, more for the future than anything else.
While I was downstairs, by the way, I snapped pics of the handmade sofa we inherited from Gina's grandma (made by her grandpa, which I talked about back in September. I also snapped pics of the handmade coffee table and end tables...the ones with the in-laid wood (coffee table) and the faux marble that I'm going to try to remove somehow (end tables). So, enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ah, nice to be in a family neighborhood...

I've never had serious trick-or-treaters since moving out of my parents' house/neighborhood eight-or-some-odd years ago. In Springfield, Mo., I was in an apartment on the fringes of the city...nothing but a rooster running through the parking lot and cows in a pasture next door. In The Brook, our driveway was too long and we were next to a park--the dark, creepy house at the end of the block that kids probably were more scared of than anything. In Humboldt Park, we got some, but honestly, I had the doorbell ring more in ding-dong-ditch fashion after school let out down the street while I was unemployed and home during the day than we did for Halloween. At the condo, nothing--not a lot of kids around, and a buzzer entry kinda prevents easy access.

So, I was downright excited about the prospects of trick-or-treaters in our new neighborhood. It's very family friendly, and families have flocked to live here. And the trick-or-treaters didn't disappoint. Thank God for Costco's 150-count bags. Although, we didn't go through ALL of it...we probably gave away about half of the three or four bags on the night.

I was giving out handfuls of candy to the kids...I'm pretty generous. But, I had to leave to go to the gym, and I guess we had a good turnout after that.

Either way, the point is, it's nice to be in a neighborhood that reminds me a lot of my old neighborhood when I was growing up. Kids used to be out in force...including us. My mom and dad report that their doorbell rang only a couple times. It's too bad, since there ARE kids in that neighborhood. How things change...

Now, we need to clean, big-time...we're hosting Thanksgiving (I believe) again. Then, can you believe it, Christmas is right around the corner. You don't think so? Then you haven't been to the stores yet! Oh, and, in case you weren't REALLY convinced, check out and see when they're starting their all-Holiday music. I love the Christmas music (have about 150 tracks on my iPod, ready to go), but The Lite never plays enough variety to not drive me crazy by Nov. 22 every year. I get a little boost the day after Thanksgiving, by "instinct" and "habit," but they need to improve their variety. Or just borrow my iPod.